The Adventure Continues...

Rants, raves and random observations from an itinerant epidemiologist.

 
100 in 1000
  1. Spend a week up a mountain learning to ski
  2. Visit Karoline's place in Moravia
  3. Hold a conversation in Czech (only)
  4. Drink 500ml of each of the following beers:
    1. Pilsner
    2. Staroprammen
    3. Budvar
    4. Velke Popovice
    5. U Fleku
    6. Gambrinus
    7. Krusovice
  5. Respond to at least one GOARN request (WHO and MSF are also acceptable)
  6. Travel across the Atlantic
  7. Return to South America
  8. Read a book to, or with, an impressionably aged child
  9. Participate in one NanoWriMo Challenge and come within at least 10,000 words of the goal length
  10. Have my nose pierced
  11. Have my next tattoo drawn
  12. Purchase the perfect jeans (x 2 pairs)
  13. Attend a spin class 3 times a week for 8 consecutive weeks
  14. Bake Viv's cheesecake
  15. Make David's casserole
  16. Make David's Chicken Cashew-nut Stirfry
  17. Invite 4 people who don't know one another too well to dinner
  18. Ride from Vienna to Venice on a motorbike (pillion acceptable, those less desirable)
  19. Attend a book group for at least two books
  20. Go on a choir weekend (learn and perform difficult piece in two/three days)
  21. Visit Madame Tussaud's (in London)
  22. Take an architecture appreciation course
  23. Join an all-girl group and sing a solo
  24. Publish in a scientific journal (top two authors)
  25. Cook a duck or other 'waterfowl'.
  26. Locate the Al-Timimi's from Doha Veterinary Practise
  27. Have a pedicure
  28. Maintain a Brazilian (ouch) for three months.
  29. Find a trustworthy Czech hairdresser
  30. Treat my inner-6-year-old twice a week (at least)
  31. Do the liver-cleansing diet properly (12 weeks)
  32. Don't eat out for one month
  33. Find a flat and flatmate
  34. Purchase one Joseph sweater
  35. Purchase one of the following pairs of designer shoes (they MUST also be COMFORTABLE, and be able to be worn with 4 different outfits and 2 types of occasion): Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutin (Ebay or 2nd hand are acceptable)
  36. Send 5 books to the booksphere and track them.
  37. Go hanggliding
  38. Read 10 'classic' books (from 1001 Books to Read before you Die)
    1. Moll Flanders
    2. Everything is illuminated
    3. Madam Bovary
    4. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance
    5. Catch-22
    6. Odysseus
    7. On the Road
  1. Run (non-stop!) for 5kms outside (preferably in a street race thingy)
  2. Send Christmas Cards on time
  3. Make a collage/mural out of street lights on my wall
  4. Buy a bed, build it, and sleep soundly in it
  5. Go to Africa
  6. Host an 'event' (classified as and when)
  7. Organise a 30th Birthday Party
  8. Wear a costume
  9. Sing on stage
  10. Buy a painting that evokes memories of Prague (cannot involve queues!)
  11. Learn a god-damned card game that stays in my memory (other than fish/snap)
  12. See sunrise. Be sober. Have woken for it. Excludes months Nov-Mar
  13. Take a walk and flip coins at each intersection
  14. Win something
  15. Draft a will
  16. Take a roadtrip
  17. Go to Italy already
  18. Sea Kayak around Abel Tasman Park (NZ)
  19. Get plants
  20. Take a train to another Eastern European Destination (accession countries are acceptable) alone preferably.
  21. Get UK to give me a provisional motorcyclists license and simultaneously get a 'card' license.
  22. Go SCUBA diving again - at least two dives lasting 30mins each.
  23. Go to a dentist. *sigh*
  24. Do a Czech Wine Trail. And live to tell the tale
  25. Make an 'outbreak emergency kit'.
  26. Go to bed prior to 11pm every night (inc weekends) for four consecutive weeks.
  27. Marvel over lack of tiredness
  28. Dine at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant (or Nobu)- preferably for free.
  29. Bet on the nags
  30. Do something for charity (applying and getting a 'red card' will count)
  31. Walk along the Champs Elysee
  32. Do 100 sit ups in a row
  33. Do 50 pressups (arms in tight)
  34. Make branston pickle (or nearest substitute)
  35. Cook something 'new' and 'adventurous' at least once a month
  36. Find a mentor
  37. Be a mentor
  38. Learn what mentoring is all about
  39. Meet an online person in real life
  40. Resist the flirt. Once. Just one night. It's okay if people don't immediately succumb to my natural charm. Really it is.
  41. Spend time at a spa (spa towns in the CR don't count)
  42. Send a care package to someone
  43. Get a Tata Bojs CD
  44. Take a French/German/Dutch course and SPEAK THE DAMNED LANGUAGE WHEN I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES ME SOUND LIKE AN IDIOT!
  45. Order new contact lenses.
  46. Make a list of things I take with me when I pack for different occasions
  47. Eat lobster. Prepared by someone else.
  48. Back up the blog
  49. Put everything onto an external hard drive
  50. Find a DDR mat and console and 'dance, I say dance!'�
  51. Go to the beach and lie on the warm sand. For an hour. (with sunscreen on, natch)
  52. Take and complete a course in either: Tango, Salsa or Flamenco
  53. Join the Municipal Library of Prague
  54. Move to another country
  55. Go to a live concert of a band I actually like
  56. Pay off debts (student loan excl.)
  57. Send thank you cards for every gift I receive (other than the gift of happiness, blah blah blah).
  58. Get an agent (literary or theatre)
  59. Go to a sports bar without cringing, by personal choice
  60. Ride a rollercoaster
  61. Hold a snake
  62. Spend a day wandering around a museum (not art gallery!)
Mild Obsessions
Monday, 30 October 2006
Okay, I admit, shoes are NEVER far from my mind. I don't quite know where this mini obsession (are there standardised descriptions for ranges of obsessive behaviour?) originated from, but I'm fairly certain Mum's patent leather maroon 4" pumps had something to do with it.

oh, how I covetted, even WITH the felt-tip-coloured-in bit by the seam on the back, and I can't describe how distraught I was when my feet outgrew those shoes. Not that I ever wore them. Oh no. Certainly, not when Mum and Dad went out and a babysitter was in charge. No siree...

But for the last, ooh, 4 weeks or so, I've not been to visit Jim. We're both suffering from the separation, but there's little I can do about it until I've found replacement shoes. See, I have reasonably normal feet, but they're a European size: "Oh my God, no wonder your ex-fiance mistook you for a drag queen" and it's quite a challenge to find sensible sports shoes, that provide sufficient cushioning for my more-than-svelte self, along with stability across the bridge that maintains the foot in a neutral running position. (mine have broken - finally - after 4 years)

For I have had an operation on my right knee (unrelated to running, I assure you) and am now paranoid.

Anyway. This morning, I woke with the singleminded determination that has seen me through a PhD, half an EPIET traineeship, and many 'boyfriends' (yes, I enter the relationship certain of its failure - I've yet to be surprised). I left the house at the ungodly (on a Saturday) hour of 09.30. I had plotted my route with fastidiousness only known to my mother's side of the family, and had tram numbers and routes written down on a small scrap of paper (so as not to appear the loser I am).

Fooling nobody, I was first at the door of the Tri-Expert shop. Apparently, they're experts in all things triathlon. Running is part of those things, and they're reputed to have staff who know what pronation is and why it's preferable to avoid it. Sadly, I was there before the owner/operator this morning. Despite it being an hour after their supposed opening time. A phone call to the number on the door resulted in a wincing cowering Nomes as the fax machine informed me that nobody cared about my problems.

Back to town (for yes, this shop was in the midst of a very pretty nowhere): Shop II. Also closed, despite being purportedly open on Saturdays. Shop III I abandoned on principle (principle being "fuck this") and headed back to the relative haven-like safety of malls. They're guaranteed to be open.

One cellblock tango serenade to a slightly bemused gentleman and his son at a bus stop somewhere west of the centre later, and I was even further west of the centre. At a large(ish) mall, staring at a wall of shoes. Ordinarily, this would make me salivate with delight, but since these shoes were predominantly white and had breathable material uppers that were only a mere inch from the floor, I was not so drooly.

The 12 year old assistant came over to 'assist'. I showed her my pre-printed list of shoes that would do the job. She looked at it as though it were covered in slime. I pointed at the word "Nike". She cowered, and pointed in the vague direction of a shoe. I said, "yes, but Nike WHAT?" for the shoe had no name tag. She shrugged. I rolled my eyes (oh come on, I couldn't help myself) heavenwards (actually, they may have gone further) and said "nevermind" in a horribly dismissive way. She returned to arranging tennis balls.

I left. Shop IV: No. Shop V: one shoe. HOORAH! (out of the list of 81 possible models) - yet not in my size (which is "Oh my god etc." plus 3 sizes in this shoe!!!).

Shop VI: nope. Shop VII: yes. IN MY SIZE. Sadly, it was possibly the least comfortable shoe I'd ever put my foot into (ugly-sistering into a Nine West 41 excepting).

Shop VII: no. Shop IX: no. Shop X: no. *sob*

So here I am, at 18.21 having spent an ENTIRE DAY walking around this city in the empty hope of finding a running shoe.

Question for the readers: do I give up and merely perform stomach stapling surgery on myself (I figure: swallow enough staples, one will do the job!) in order to shift the persistent knedliky that finds itself attached to my stomach - or do I make another attempt with the apparently brilliant running shops that were shut today?

At what point do I turn to Ebay and have a pair of shoes go missing like the replacement mobile phone did?

Meanwhile: I did get to see the following on my epic quest:
Police indulging their inner teenager by cramming four into a car, parked by the river (including one motorbike policeman) smoking. Hilarious. I'm sure there was a bottle of vodka in there too. Because we all know that vodka doesn't smell...

Half of the army. The youngest half. Being clung to by limpet like teenage mothers who managed to simultaneously scan the crowded metro to make sure everyone was noticing them. The dpm-clad boyfriends, on the other hand, are managing to look embarrassed at being the hulls for their barnacle like girlfriends (all barring the penis thing, obviously) while concurrently carefully checking out the limpets attached to their brothers-in-arms and barely concealing the urge to eyeroll in a kamaradly kind of way.

Since I was shopping for sports shoes, I wore my old ones (as advised by all running websites). However, I cringed at the idea (jeans and white sneakers!!! Ick!). I've valiantly not looked down once today (I have no idea how much dog poo I stepped in), and have thus ignored them. However, at one point, I saw some elderly female American tourists who's 'sneakers' were so blindingly white, that I was snow-dazzled for at least 30seconds. How do they keep them so? Are there special manufacturers of 'touring' shoes as for bikes? Boggled.
Oh great. The smelly 15-year old next to me is checking out porn. *sigh* Time to go home to my drug pushers, sex dealers and Eddie Izzard DVD's. Roll on Sunday.
posted by Nomes @ Monday, October 30, 2006   6 comments
Tax Advice
Friday, 27 October 2006
Do not, under any circumstances, decide to calculate your annual tax bill (due on 31 March 2007) on a Friday.

Especially if you’re hoping (against all likelihood) that your institute will give you back pay which will let you pay the damned bill (with nothing leftover for motorbike purchasing).

Certainly, should you calculate your annual salary, don’t, whatever you do, translate it back into Great Britain Pounds Sterling, Euros, or any other currency in the developed western world.

And if you DO happen to do all of the above, don’t compare your salary to that of others in the same field with similar levels of experience and qualifications (or yourself, two years ago).

You realise you've had a pay cut of 30%


Because if you DO all of the above, you end up spending the rest of the day concentrating on money making ventures.

Such as wondering whether the rent boys downstairs need a madam.

Leave
Also, despite checking your overtime balance, do not assume that the 60 days that you’ve accrued will actually be transmogrified into anything more meaningful than exactly what you see on the screen.

They are but a reminder that you should’ve buggered off home.

Don’t dare assume that you might get some days annual leave (or days in lieu) due to overtime. Because you won’t.

Then cut short your trip to Brazil, because of the upcoming tax bill and unlikelihood of receiving back pay.


Don’t warn other EPIET wannabes about this.

They’ll not sign up to come to Prague.

If some gullible fool does end up here after me, make sure to get the damned contract translated IN IT’S ENTIREITY and DON’T SIGN UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND EVERY-LAST-FUCKING-THING!

Guess which lesson I learnt today?
posted by Nomes @ Friday, October 27, 2006   3 comments
Introducing Mr. Goose
Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Mr Goose has been taken off the pond for his own good. He needs to stop exercising all that protective fat off his muscles – winter is cold. He’ll be plucked, disembowelled and cleaned. I’ll hopefully go collect him the weekend before Christmas – staying in a B&B for one night in the Moravian (that’s the eastern part of Czech Republic – it’s alphabetical – Bohemia is to the west and contains Prague) wilderness.

Flights have been booked by the Edinburgh crew, and they’re sorting out their accommodation now. As long as there’s an oven (in which to roast Mr Goose), I’ll be happy. We’re already planning a Christmas rendition of “chairs on ice”, which will have to be video’d to be believed. Watch this space.

Intunition did their thang on Sunday night at Tulip café. It was surprisingly well received (by those we’d cajoled and beaten to get there). This was our ‘practice’ run (in front of an audience for the first time in ages) warming us up for the Jazz Café performance on November 5th (remember remember). Am going to try to find sparklers (preskavka) for the girls (and audience).

CP has visited and departed. We had a(n evil) giraffe at our table at Pivovarsky Dum where we ate “traditional Czech food”. Somehow, frozen and subsequently deepfried croquettes are proclaimed “traditional”. But yes, the food was delicious, and helped the pivo go down (sort of the adult version of “A spoonful of sugar…”). AND we managed to pirt (flirting, using beer) with two young czech lads. So young, we could have been their mothers…but hey! Beggars etc…

But, her visit did allow me to discover a PERFECT Prague visitors route. I must write it down so that next time someone arrives, I don’t have to dither while wondering which tram to take to get where. For some reason, the landing of a visitor on my doorstep renders my inner ‘tram map’ absolutely illegible – and I end up making us take a hovercraft to get down the street (by way of at least one metro, and possibly a night bus).

Which means no one else has excuse not to pop over. If you can find a weekend that suits: natch!

posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, October 24, 2006   1 comments
Giving in to temptation...
Friday, 20 October 2006
Both my darling flatmate and myself are busy people. He goes to school in the morning, works for a school in the afternoon and teaches in the late afternoon/evening. I go to work, surf the internet, e-mail friends and family, write blog entries and then come home, shattered. Occasionally I might visit Jim (I need new shoes, so haven’t been going for a wee while *slap on the wrist indeed*).

After years of reading articles that fall along the “how to save your relationship” lines, scoffing when they mention “involving another person” and generally thinking of myself as ‘better than that’, I’ve relented.

Well, it’s more like we capitulated, to be more accurate. Rolled over and died is also possibly reasonably ‘concise’.

The point being, that because we’re busy people, with hectic (for hectic, feel free to substitute the word ‘hangover inducing’) social lives, and we also travel for work and occasionally like to spend the entire day on the couch not raising a hand to do more than break off another piece of Lindt (yum, have I mentioned how good that stuff is?); we’ve neglected our household chores.

Not for a few weeks.

Almost a few months.

This, in student life, is perfectly acceptable – expected and (dare I say) charming (provided one finds rodents and cockroaches ‘charming’). In an ‘almost-30’ (ARGH! How did that happen? *throws draft timeline out the window in a fit of pique*), supposedly intelligent, supposedly career-woman with ridiculously high aspirations and goals, not to mention, approaching visitations from friends in NZ, this is TOTALLY unacceptable.

Not to mention embarrassing. (yet here I am, again, blathering about it to all who read the internet)

So. After many weeks of “ooh, must call that number I got off that person at that dinner I went to…” style Nomes-dithering, I finally rang it. I had a “possibly successful” semi-czech conversation the results of which would be seen on Thursday afternoon.

Thursday afternoon rolled around. I took myself home – neglecting (foolishly – given the current weather patterns) to collect my winter coat from the dry cleaners – and met a lady outside our building. She followed me up to our house, then proceeded to strip.

Because here, cleaners like you to assess their work on the basis of how well they shimmy.

She changed into ‚work‘ clothes – quelling the inner wince that had been developing when I saw her outside, wearing 4“ stillettos.

Two hours later, the house was cleaner. Not spotless, but then for NZ$12/6E – what did we expect? But the choice of a mediocre job done weekly, or a great job seldom done, when combined with the impending visitation, I know which option I’m taking and happy with (this week).

Let’s hope that the lasagne sitting in the slow-cooker on the counter top doesn’t burn/boil over/go hideously wrong today. Fingers crossed again please peeps. Yes, lasagne IS on the same scale as parental heart surgery...

posted by Nomes @ Friday, October 20, 2006   1 comments
Menorca – 1 year on
Tuesday, 17 October 2006
No amazing sailing trips this time, the 2006 EPIET Scientific Seminar felt like it was all about work.

Day One: arrive, after a delay in Barcelona airport ("we need to replace your plane") that we didn't object to, too much!

Day Two: performance at 11:30ish (my talk on Avian Influenza cases in Azerbaijan – during which the Powerpoint presentation went “you know what? I’m not gonna work for you” which meant I had to ‘talk people through’ a very difficult slide without the visual part!!!! GAH!) conference until 17:30, EPIET Alumni Meeting till 19:15, Drinks with Cohort 12 (gosh, did we look that young last year?) until 20:30 then dinner till whenever.

Day Three: conference until 17:30, including poster session (you stand by your poster and hope that people come ask you questions about it, which you then answer in your best ‘epi’ voice), dinner at 20:30 with dancing (I can’t do it…I just can’t) and home by 02:00 (we were far from being the last home, our enthusiasm was pathetic). In the meantime, some of us used this downtime to go to the bay for some smaller meetings.

Day Four: conference until 15:30, own time. I had a sleep, until meeting Cohort 10 and 11 people for dinner at 20:00 then trying some of the bars on the island with the Danish group.
Day Five: meeting till 14:00, bus to airport at 14:30. Final arrival home…

Day Six: 03:30 – to be at work by 08:00 (not happening – got in at 12:30 and gave myself a pat on the back as it was).

Consequently, I’m knackered. But the coordinators are even MORE shattered - after three gruelling weeks on Alcatraz Lazareto beforehand. I hate to see people in such a state...I just want to tuck them in with a hot water bottle and throw their alarm clocks out.

I don’t know why we (Cohort 11) were all so tired this year, in comparison to last. You’d have thought that three weeks of intensive learning and communication on Lazareto last year would have put more bags under our eyes than simply ‘turning up’ but no. Odd. Perhaps it was the sense of responsibility. Having spent HOURS going through other people’s presentations and posters, everyone who was up there performing (in whatever way) had us on the edges of our seats: “did they change their slides, will they fumble around the middle bit of the presentation, will they get nice questions and answer them both succinctly and scientifically?”. Not to mention the adrenalin rushes of our own performances dragging some tiredness out.

Tickets for Brazil are booked, the hotel has been looked at (discussions as to room-sharing are currently on-going) and our darling organisers are arguing about the fact we can’t successfully register online and are risking having to pay more in person when we get there. The website is a mess – it seems epi’s aren’t so keen on having pretty front-ends (ha ha ha) – but you’re welcome to park your aching eyes here.*

That is, of course, after you’ve checked out the photos!!

River, darling, still waiting on the mumps report – apologies for delay, everyone in the office is buggering off to Slovakia for the rest of the week. *sigh*

*If anyone can explain to me why the Tephinet website has an 'oil rig' scribbled onto it - then please feel free. I'm more confused than ever.

posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, October 17, 2006   0 comments
Juicy Computer
Tuesday, 10 October 2006

For some reason, my computer spits out one Drosophila per day. This is peculiar, because as far as I know, Acer is not the name of a fruit. I have attempted to eat my computer (most recently, when my bag almost slipped out of my grasp getting it out of the overhead locker: I caught it with my face!) and it wasn’t juicy.

Perhaps it’s like a quince, and I need to boil 7 shades of disk out of it?

Off to Spain tomorrow. Am going to try new technique of packing: bundle packing.

With Joseph going soon, I'm worried I'll start to feel disconnected again. It's that special feeling of "belonging" (tinged with paranoia) induced when you bump into someone on the street when you're en route home. Even if he's usually to be found at my house anyway (I have a DVD player...if I had Sky, I reckon I might get lucky more frequently...television being a commodity here).

In other news: I've been here for just over a year. I've been to 12 countries. I've had 9 visitors. This is more than in my entire 10 years in NZ.
posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, October 10, 2006   4 comments
Stomatology – it has nothing to do with stomachs. Except in some cases.
Wednesday, 4 October 2006
I mean, I suppose it's to be expected. If you haven't been to the dentist in 10 years (despite being adamant that your best friend gets over her fear and goes every year for another root canal - or alternatively expensive and painful sounding procedure) then you can suppose that it's going to hurt like a bastard when you finally cave.

My gums have been bleeding for a wee while. I've been practicing ostrich psychology and saying to myself "brush more frequently - it'll go away". But it hasn't. And eventually, the ad campaign recently (girl holding mascara wand to eyelashes, long thin dribble of blood running down her face from her eyelid, slogan "you wouldn't ignore this, would you?" blah blah gum disease blah blah) finally made me feel guilty (not to mention foolish) enough to warrant booking an appointment with a dentist.

And at work, how about it, we have a dentist on site. Yes, the communists were good for: decentralisation of EVERYTHING. A phone call revealed I'd be accompanied by my boss (who has now borne witness to more of my medical procedures than my parents have!) and would have to be in the chair at 07:30.

Yes, that's AM! (apparently, our darling 'meercan expats aren't too familiar with the 24hr clock - which is weird, cos I DEFINITELY remember learning it for programming the VCR, and don't American's watch a shit-load of telly?)

So, in I came, at the appointed hour. It was still dark. But your fearless Nomes stepped up (literally) to the chair, glad that she'd been doing some exercise lately and could physically pull herself up that high!

The torture began. I have zubní kámen (tartar). That, despite my teeth feeling squeaky clean (quick check with tongue -yep, still slidy) made me think "ah, come on, I clean my teeth using a dentist recommended electric brush, I floss*...I use Colgate Total...what more can you want...?" prior to the quick self-editing thought "remember those 'go to your dentist at least once a year, just for maintenance' suggestions you ignored for the last ten years??? THAT'S what they want!".

After some ultrasound (Ow-F-F-S!) and some squirting of stuff (?? What was it? Foamy - that's as much as I can tell you - and bloody by the time I was spitting) under my gumline she really started hacking in on me.

Remember bottle brushes that you used to use to clean out milk bottles?

And remember (girls) the look of the tool with which they collect cervical cells?

Yeah - one of them. BETWEEN the teeth, rasped OVER the gums. Just in case they weren't bleeding PRIOR to this treatment, I now look like dracula and am too scared to eat breakfast.

Hungry and bleeding. Is this my own personal renaissance?

*well, I HAVE floss in my cupboard. Has ANYONE ever seen what happens at the end of a roll of floss?
posted by Nomes @ Wednesday, October 04, 2006   5 comments
Applied Science NEWSFLASH!
Monday, 2 October 2006
Does this mean that boys are dumb?
posted by Nomes @ Monday, October 02, 2006   1 comments
Flatpackphilia
Friday night was delicious. There’s something so appealing about being out with a bunch of (predominantly) gay men. They’re all ‘lovely’, ‘fabulous’ and ‘darling’. The only downside is that when a straight guy comes and tries to join our group, guess who they target. Regardless of possibilities of acquiring ‘extras’, I simply wasn’t interested. Which is why I managed to obtain no fewer than three “pash cards” from the gay fellas (these are the “get out of jail cards” that one may require in the instance of unwanted ‘breeder’ attention). A 5:30am finish meant that I even made it home in the dark. First time in AGES. Thank goodness winter’s approaching and my chances of doing just that are increasing!

I’m developing a strange affliction that has peculiar results. Flatpackphilia.

Now, according to a few (now that my degrees have been formally ‘recognised’ and ‘similarly conferred’ by the nth Veterinary Faculty at Brno University) universities, I’m reasonably intelligent. Reasonably. However, somewhere between the world of intellect and real-life-smarts, something went slightly adrift.

Which is the ONLY explanation I can offer for my current situation (no Dad, I’m not pregnant).

See, a wee while ago, I decided I’d stop trying to live like an impoverished and bohemian artiste and actually sleep on a damned bed. This means that truth, beauty and above all love could actually have the potential to exist through means of nudity, sleep and well, the obvious.

So last month, I purchased a mattress, which I could lay over the top of the futon base I’ve been on since June. This mattress is 160 x 200cm, which meant it somewhat hung over the edges of the 140x180 futon base, but no matter. After the first few attempts of ‘perching’ which landed me on the floor with a bruised coccyx, I soon learnt.

This month, after the trip to Geneva, I thought I’d quickly pop out to Ikea and purchase the rest of my bed. Then: I’d be a real person (degrees recognised, almost a proper salary, AND a bed!).

After clearing my entire floor, washing my room down, and opening the flatpacks that were delivered early Saturday morning, I set to the construction bit. I hardly even swore: it was all easy. Suspiciously so. Once the bed was constructed, I looked at it and the bedside tables, which seemed ominously further apart than they had done. I retrieved the mattress from the bathroom (well, you try moving furniture in a tiny space like ours) and put it on the bed.

Alas, I’d gone from slippery sides to running boards.

Yes, this supposedly-smart-sassy-sex-symbol (I needed S’s – forgive me) managed to overestimate the size of the bed needed: and purchased one that was 180x200.

Were I in a country with a customer services industry (or charter/school/interest in etc.) then I would have immediately phoned them up, explained my moment of idiocy and asked them to suggest a solution that wouldn’t involve blue neon lights under the edges of the bed (in a cross between a disco bedroom and a boy racers wet dream). However, I’m not. So, I merely placed my (new cover!) duvet on the top, and applauded my sense in buying a bed which allows the duvet to tuck over the edges of the mattress and still fit within the confines of the bed base. Hoorah.

But, the bed that I now have is, well, large to say the least. In fact, it’s the same size as a small European principality. Thus, if I now allude to a ‘home-based grand prix’ you can all smirk. I shall refrain from referring to phrases such as ‘pole position’ though – I wouldn’t want to shock the father into atrial fibrillation!

I met a friend of a friend of a friends’ on Saturday afternoon, a charming kiwi/Czech (!?) lass who knows (via her flatmate) my oldest friend (from PRIMARY school) in NZ. We walked up Wenceslas Square marvelling at the number of police still around (following the ‘terrorist threat’ of last week). She mentioned that she still finds it disquieteningly weird (okay, my phrase, her description of the feeling) that the police here wear guns. I realised that I hadn’t even noticed – probably due to slight overexposure during the time we were in the Middle East, where if you wore a uniform, you probably also wore an M-16, loaded. I’m not sure which I prefer: a state of naivety (ignorance?) and surprise at seeing pistols on hips or my slightly more jaded perspective.

This Sunday has possibly been my best in Prague yet. I think it has to do with the (somewhat) phenomenal brunch I enjoyed at the behest of a new friend. She orchestrated it (thank goodness, my social organisation skills have run off with my dimension aptitude) which is how I found myself sitting in Café Savoy at 11:30am – perfect brunch time. At one point, we were the only ones in the place – recalling Joseph’s “this isn’t really a brunch kind of town, is it?” warning of yesterday. Apparently not.

However, I ordered (“dam si snidaně francousku prosim“) the french breakfast, while T had the English. Almost immediately the table was littered with the acoutrements of my brunch: croissant (buttery, crispy and squishy in equal measures), spreads (jams & butter), a bonbon (in it’s own sundae dish), cafe au lait (the most perfect latte I’ve experienced here to date), freshly squeezed orange juice, bread (sourdough: brown and white), french toast with maple syrup, an egg, french blue cheese, ham, sausage, lettuce and frenchfries (I left them – it seemed a little de trop!). After the consumption of which I just wanted to lie down and digest. All that for NZ18, 9E. Not quite to the same standard as the Berlin breakfast, but after a year of being too hungover/sleepy/still drunk on a Sunday morning, I was thrilled to have found it. And now all visitors will have to eat there too.

Since it was too rainy to ‘do’ Vyšehrad, we checked out the World Press Photo exhibition with a million other people instead. Then I was ready for more caffeine. So, I grabbed another latte from another ‘never-before-sampled’ café, only to find a) a hot barista and b) another delicious latte (hmmm…no secret ingredients one hopes). Interestingly (to me, at any rate) I learnt (when the hot barista came out from behind the counter) that I prefer my baristas in trousers than three-quarter-length pants. Who knew?

After this delightful, decadent sojourn into my old existence, it was time to return to the squalor and filth of the house (it’s our own fault, we simply haven’t cleaned much lately…eww!) to find that Joseph had braved the three thousand dishes that we (I) created last night imitating Gordon Ramsey. Despite (only) making broccoli soup (“look at the goodness in that!”) I managed to use no fewer than two mixers and three large saucepans. It wasn’t even that great (disappointingly – however, I’m still convinced the goose will be great for Christmas: to which Paul/Emily/Ems & Jo will hopefully attend!).

Having also watched Memoirs of a Geisha and the Inside Man (Clive Owen – swooooooon – he can rob my bank any day) this weekend; on the street today, I was torn between the idea of succeeding in committing ‘the best bank heist ever’ (from now on, there will be electronic ‘taps’ on my blog…beware) and seeing if I could make a man stop in his tracks “with just one look”. This resulted in three offers of assistance (clearly I looked as though I was lost – wrong ‘look’) and one person request for change, and some kid pointed at me and asked his Mama what was ‘wrong with that strange lady’. Not QUITE the tuk-tuk/chicken/bicycle collision of the movie world – but then, I wasn’t wearing a silk kimono.

Yeah, that was it.
posted by Nomes @ Monday, October 02, 2006   1 comments

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